I just called in to my new local bike shop, Brown’s, to set up an appointment for a fitting, and spoke with a cordial, but hurried guy on the other end of the line.  He said that they are crazy busy right now, and my best bet would be to call back and set an appointment up with Rich, but not until January.  It appears that maybe the hot holiday item this year is a new bike?


Last week I saw another physical therapist, who Jacquie called in as a ringer to do a consultation with me.  Rob is a veteran PT at Orthopaedics Plus, but also has a small tear in his meniscus, and battles with patella tendinitis like I do.  His knee gives him much more trouble than mine does, but still he was able to impart some great advice and stretches that have helped him get back to normal.  I learned some stretches and exercises that will strengthen my quads and hamstrings without putting unnecessary strain on my knees.

With his and Jacquie’s blessing, I’ve begun riding again.  Sadly we’ve entered the cold and wet half of the year, so I scrubbed down my bike and have surrendered myself to my indoor trainer for the winter.  While riding on the trainer is better as far as my knees are concerned, it’s basically the biking equivalent of jogging on a treadmill.  Yea the motions are all the same, but all the things I love about biking are absent.  But I suppose this is just a necessary step so I can get back to riding and jogging the way I want to as soon as spring rolls around.

My goal is muscle soreness in all the right places without knee or joint pain.  After having been nearly dormant for the past 2 months, a morning of exercises and biking was enough to wipe me out and tire my legs, but I can tell I’m still putting strain on my knees.  Looks like it might be time for a bike fitting.  I’ve always considered it, but it seems a bit silly to spend more on a fitting than I did on the bike itself.  Which I suppose raises a red flag that I definitely need the fitting, as I never have been completely confident that the size and shape of it are right.  When I bought my bike, I never expected to jump headlong into cycling as much as I have, and the driving forces behind the purchase were the relatively low cost and relatively accurate size.

fuck cancer, he’s Ezra:

I WIN!  Ya heard?

Happy 110th René

From Bicycle Source

1) n. a person who spends a lot of money on his bike and clothing, but still can’t ride. “What a fred — too much Lycra and titanium and not enough skill.” Synonym for poser. Occasionally called a “barney”.

2) n. a person who has a mishmash of old gear, does’t care at all about technology or fashion, didn’t race or follow racing, etc. Often identified by chainring marks on white calf socks. Used by “serious” roadies to disparage utility cyclists and touring riders, especially after these totally unfashionable “freds” drop the “serious” roadies on hills because the “serious” guys were really posers. This term is from road touring and, according to popular myth, “Fred” was a well-known grumpy old touring rider, who really was named Fred.

We have a winner!  #2, that’s me (except for dropping roadies on hill climbs).  So I guess I’m the bad parts of both definitions.

Alex: n. a person who has a mishmash of old gear, doesn’t care much for technology,  doesn’t follow racing, and doesn’t race (for good reason due to lack of skill), and occasioinally drops other “serious” riders on a slight incline with the wind at his back.

My second opinion doctor agreed with the first opinion.  That makes 3-2; 3 medical professions who think that the problem is solely weak quads and strained patella tendons / IT band vs 2 medical professions who think there is a small tear in my meniscus.  Good news?!  I guess we’ll just trudge along working on quad strengthening and loosing up some exhausted tissue in my legs.  As a part of this process, I’ll be receiving doses of dexamethasone via iontophoresis.  Don’t know what either of those things are?  That makes two of us, so let’s do some learning:

from the always accurate, never skewed Wikipedia:

Iontophoresis is a non-invasive method of propelling high concentrations of a charged substance, normally medication or bioactive agents, transdermally by repulsive electromotive force using a small electrical charge applied to an iontophoretic chamber containing a similarly charged active agent and its vehicle.

Still confused?

To clarify, one or two chambers are filled with a solution containing an active ingredient and its solvent, termed the vehicle. The positively charged chamber, termed the anode will repel a positively charged chemical, while the negatively charged chamber, termed the cathode, will repel a negatively charged chemical into the skin.

Ooooooooh, now it’s crystal clear.  What’s that you say?  You think that sounds a lot like a transdermal patch?  “Unlike transdermal patches, this method relies on active transportation within an electric field. In the presence of an electric field electromigration and electroosmosis are the dominant forces in mass transport”

So that’s ionto, the process, but what about Dexamethason,  the actual drug I’ll be receiving into my body via electrodes and wizardry?  Well, it’s an anti-inflammatory which packs 60 times the punch of a cortizone shot.  I’ll be attaching the negatively charged pad to my patella tendon, directly below my left knee, and the positive charge will be on a pad stuck to my left thigh.  This is, without a doubt,  the strangest thing I’ve ever had my body hooked up to, and it’s too soon to tell the breadth of the benefits yet.

Still curioius about dexamethason or iontophoresis?  (I know you are)  Turns out a Polish cross country skiier was disqualified and issued a 2 year suspension for her doping use of dexamethasone back in 2004.  Uhhh?

shared by Brenda

My bike has been preserved for the ages on Old Ten Speed Gallery. I realized that I haven’t every posted photos up here other than a few over my handlebars, so go over to OTSG to check out the old girl. While you’re there, I know a lot of you out there are riding old ten speeds, go ahead and send yours in for eternal documentation and mild smarminess.

For some reason when I’m not biking as much, my desire to buy cycling paraphernalia has grown. Distance makes the heart grow fonder I guess. I am often tempted to pick up a new helmet, maybe some some new tires, and I’ve even been considering getting a new bike (GASP). I do love my bike, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder if that’s because I haven’t ridden anything but it in so long and don’t know what I’m missing.

My buddy Tony lives in Providence, and dropped me an email last night:

I was riding my bike home from work and some dick in a pick up truck flipped me off. Just honked, stuck out his arm and flipped me off like he was doing something as routine and obligatory as excusing himself after a burp. Guy on a bike? Flip! I mean…it seemed like he did it out of some weird sense of responsibility. I don’t know. It happens to all of us all the time, and I’m typically not one to give a shit when it happens to me but man, this one just stuck in my craw.

Having been to Providence a few times, with the exception of all the hills, it seems like a biker’s paradise. It’s a small city with a centralized downtown area, the roads seem wide, and there are TONS of bikes out there. I just can’t imagine where this pickup truck was headed that Tony caused such an inconvenience. Granted, I’m glad they flipped him off rather than buzzing him, but nonethless. I thought high school was over, but I guess the bully complex will never really go away.

Into PT I walked today, proud to tell Jacquie the good news that the doctor had dismissed the notion that I had done some real damage, but rather than relief she seemed more upset. Adding a pinch of self-doubt to her diagnosis, she had one of the other therapists run a few diagnostic tests. After some pushing, pulling, squeezing, and bending he thinks I likely have a torn meniscus. Shit! I guess it’s just a lesson that I need to be a better patient and push for the MRI, question diagnose, and go with my gut.

So back I go to a specialist, Dr Evans to get a second opinion. My appointment is set for 3 weeks out, so I guess between now and then I’m just going to stick with the exercises etc. Oh and jump through more HMO hoops.

On the bright side, by the time I have my appointment with this second specialist, we’ll have a new president!